I’ve been a huge fan of Nickelodeon since I was about three years old. I cherished and respected the channel. Nick’ was fun for families and added programs to their lineup that grew up with their audience. I’m sure that’s just good business, but it was something I appreciated. Alas, I see less of it now, or maybe the options have become less enticing.
It’s common to hear the best cartoons/animated series came from the 90s and early 2000s (more arguably). I concur. There were a number of quality shows then, even non-animated, but I also recognize some great stuff since 2004. One such series is Avatar: The Last Airbender. Another to a lesser degree, and followed in 2012, is The Legend of Korra. I’m not writing to dissect the show though. I was thankful to see something else in an Avatar universe, but can admit the first two seasons had short comings. I was curious as to why because I knew what the crew was capable of delivering. What I really want to know is how Nickelodeon chose and chooses to handle this series. The first season felt like *stomps* “I’M THE AVATAR!,” blink and it’s over. I guess (for some reason) the powers that be didn’t think Avatar fans would reappear to watch The Legend of Korra, clearly we did. Doing so led to the green light for a less rushed season two and season three. I’m obviously not the first to address this, but since my blog is new, and I just caught up on the three most recent episodes, I figure I could speak my piece.
Season three feels like the Korra we deserve and waited for. Yet, I didn’t know it was airing until three episodes in. I hadn’t been watching Nickelodeon as much as I used to. I mean seriously? Does Spongebob need to marathon every single day? I don’t even know when new Fairly Odd Parents airs. I didn’t even know there were still new episodes of The Fairly Odd Parents. I usually watch Cartoon Network and, less so, Disney (for Gravity Falls hearts Kristen Schaal). But even on those channels advertisements for other series or networks can pop up. I was all over The Legend of Korra’s first two seasons, it was everywhere. Book Three? Seemed like it had a gag order. I discovered Korra was back while channel surfing, missing the premiere that night, and it re-airing on a second Nickelodeon channel I no longer had. I went to the Internet and saw plenty of fans just as blind sided by its return. I caught up online because Nickelodeon didn’t want to re-air it on any of its other channels aside from Nickelodeon 2 (which is basically two-three hours behind its primary channel). They didn’t even have an Ondemand option. These were all things they had done in the past. I have no qualms trying to catch shows on television when I can, but they were definitely not making it easy.
The lack of promotion didn’t make it easy for anyone else either. I read that Legend of Korra suffered poor ratings which probably encouraged them to pull the remaining episodes from their network. I didn’t study marketing or business in university, but if hardly anyone knows your program is about to air, hardly anyone is going to tune in when it does. I think what bugs me more aside from the “ratings sucked, so not worth our air time” impression, is that online options don’t make it that great of a viewing experience. Sometimes I just want to watch things on a TV and not my computer. Especially things I am used to viewing on television. I have tried to watch Legend of Korra via Nickelodeon’s site. The streaming has almost never been smooth for me even when it wasn’t this near full screen HD version they have now. I appreciate their effort of making it a “big deal” on the site, but it’s just not the same.
When I see how many times the same series is airing on Nickelodeon or old episodes of the same series. I just ask why? Who is that for? Even little kids must tire of Spongebob. Cartoon Network is guilty of marathon-ing their prime time shows too. But it’s all of them back to back. Not only one or two dominating…well except a few times it may only be Adventure Time and Regular Show. But that’s okay, I love them and if I don’t feel like watching, I won’t. I have seen some of Nickelodeons newer series like Breadwinners and Sanjay and Craig. Sanjay and Craig is fun. It also doesn’t hurt that the animation department has ties to Bob’s Burgers, or Chris Hardwick voices Craig. S&C makes me think of it as this generation’s Ren and Stimpy. But I rarely follow new episodes, because any time I scroll pass Nickelodeon, it’s Spongebob or something else. I know I could easily do some Googling to figure out the actual air time, but this should be, at least somewhat, obvious from channel listings. After all, my cable provider has Nickelodeon right above CN. Cartoon Network has gone through so many lineup changes it makes me want to smash a table, but they also make sure that the people who want to watch those shows know. They may spend an entire month letting viewers know. I may still forget until I readjust, but when I do it’s not the end of the world. Later that weekend or early the following week they’ll re-air current episodes, or release them to Ondemand.
It’s possible I need to spend a little more time watching Nickelodeon again to see if it’s failing as miserably as I perceive compared to Cartoon Network. But their treatment of The Legend of Korra feels like the biggest “F-you” they’ve given their viewers, and I’m not convinced they’re worth my loyalty anymore.